Choosing the Right CRM Solution for your Campus

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                                                        Choosing the Right CRM                          Solution for your Campus

              TABLE OF CONTENTS                         Higher education’s interest in Constituent
                                                        Relationship Management (CRM) products is at an
  INTRODUCTION: CHOOSING A                              all-time high, as institutions recognize the
  CRM SYSTEM .....................................3
                                                        immediate payoffs inherent in better CRM. Here are
  INTEROPERABILITY CONCERNS ..........4                 key considerations in selecting a CRM system for
  THE ROI IN CRM ...............................6
                                                        enrollment management that works for your needs.
  FEATURE INTEGRATION ......................7

                                                        Executive Summary
  BEST-OF-BREED SOLUTIONS ...............8
                                                        Interest in CRM products in higher education is booming, and no wonder.
  CONCLUSION ..................................... 10
                                                        Competition for students is sharpening as the pool of high school graduates
                                                        slowly shrinks. Realizing this, the smartest institutions are focusing their
                                                        resources on attracting the students they most want, forcing other schools to
                                                        do the same or fall behind.

                                                        During a difficult economy, issues such as improving efficiency and
                                                        maximizing returns on investment become critical. Constituent Relationship
                                                        Management (CRM) software offers institutions a key opportunity to
                                                        streamline operations, better manage student information, and save money.
                                                        The right CRM tool, properly selected, installed and configured, can help
                                                        institutions successfully manage their student recruitment, enrollment and
                                                        retention programs. The payoff is better attraction and retention rates, which
                                                        offers an immediate return on investment, as well as better overall operational
  Sponsored by:                                         efficiency and cost savings. Directing the power of CRM at enrollment
                                                        management allows institutions to reach out to prospective and current
                                                        students in the personal, targeted manner that students have come to expect as
                                                        millennial consumers.

April 2009                                                                                                                                --1--
          The right CRM     The challenge, as with any mission-critical software, is selecting the right
                            CRM tool for your institution, since a wide range of factors come into play
        tool can offer an
                            during the selection and implementation process.
       immediate return
      on investment, as     In this paper, we examine several elements to consider in selecting CRM
                            packages, and we speak with four institutions about their criteria in making
           well as better   that selection. We offer both guidelines on top considerations in selecting a
       overall efficiency   CRM tool specifically for admission and retention purposes, and insights from
      and cost savings.     technology leaders at schools that have already completed the selection

                                                         CRM Leaders

                            For this paper, we spoke with four colleges and universities, with a
                            range of student numbers and admissions goals, about the reasons
                            behind their choice of a Web-based enrollment management CRM
                            solution – and their CRM goals.

                            Founded in 1851, Columbia College is based in Missouri but has over
                            30 campuses across the U.S. It offers adult education, accredited
                            distance learning, and graduate and undergraduate degrees. Columbia
                            is a private, not-for-profit, liberal arts and sciences college that takes
                            pride in small classes, experienced faculty and quality programs.

                            Located just outside Washington, D.C. in the heart of Northern
                            Virginia’s technology corridor, George Mason University is a
                            destination for students from all over the world. The university offers
                            strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering,
                            information technology, biotechnology and health care.

                            The Chicago School is an accredited psychology graduate school
                            offering comprehensive business psychology, applied behavior
                            analysis, school psychology, and other graduate programs. With over
                            2,200 students, The Chicago School is the nation's leading graduate
                            school dedicated exclusively to the advancement of professional
                            psychology education.

                            With an 830-acre main campus in Malibu, CA, overlooking the Pacific
                            Ocean, Pepperdine University is a Christian university “committed to
                            the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values,
                            where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and
                            leadership.” The university enrolls some 8,300 students in five colleges
                            and schools, including its Graduate School of Education and
                            Psychology, which we profile here.

April 2009                                     -2-                                                          --2--
                                               Introduction: Choosing a CRM System

                                               Improving the success rate of the admissions and retention process is clearly
                                               top-of-mind for college campuses today. A 2008 Campus Technology
                                               magazine survey1 revealed that nearly half of respondents either have or plan
                                               to install a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) solution for
                                               admissions and enrollment management. The same study found, not
                                               surprisingly, that admissions application software is a top priority across
                                               college campuses, with nearly 90 percent of those surveyed rating it either
                                               mission critical or very important.

                                               In this paper, we explore four top considerations in selecting a CRM system:

                                                    o    Interoperability with other systems on campus. Making sure your
                                                         enrollment CRM software can work well with other systems is
                                                         critical, of course, since CRM reaches across campus into other
                                                         software used for managing student names, financial information,
                                                         and other data. We examine the detailed process that Columbia
                                                         College of Columbia, MO followed to make sure its CRM software
                                                         would work well with other systems.

                                                    o    Finding the ROI in enrollment CRM software. Return on
                                                         investment is more important than ever to today’s institutions – and
                                                         part of the reason that CRM solutions are drawing such interest.
                                                         Because they tend to increase efficiency and reduce reliance on
                                                         internal support services, enrollment management CRM packages
                                                         can result in relatively quick returns. That was particularly important
                                                         at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and
                                                         Psychology, which wanted to avoid excessive reliance on the main
                                                         university’s central IT department.

                                                    o    Considering feature integration. What elements should a CRM
                                                         package contain, and how will you use them? For George Mason
                                                         University in Fairfax County, Virginia, feature integration was a key
                                                         consideration in selecting a range of enrollment solutions from a
                                                         single vendor. Here’s why, and what they settled on.

                                                    o    Weighing “best of breed” vs. a suite product. A key decision for
                                                         many institutions is weighing the pluses of vast “suite” solutions
                                                         versus more focused best-of-breed software that targets a particular
                                                         area. We explore why The Chicago School chose leading best-of-
                                                         breed Web-based CRM software to address their enrollment
                                                         management needs.

              “CRM Usage Study” conducted by Campus Technology magazine for Hobsons, July/August 2008 involved 234 respondents, all
             currently involved in purchase of or planning for CRM solutions for their campuses. Margin of error +/- seven percent.

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             As we examine these key factors in selecting a CRM solution, we’ll look at
             the choices made by key technology leaders at each school, how they arrived
             at those decisions, and how the results are shaping up.

             Consideration #1: Interoperability Concerns

             Choosing the right enrollment CRM software can be challenging in particular
             because CRM must interoperate with a range of other applications, including
             the student information system, and oftentimes an ERP or accounting system
             as well. Some schools mistakenly take that to mean that the CRM solution
             must come from the same vendor or be part of a suite of products that include
             admissions and retention software. In examining enrollment CRM success
             stories, however, it becomes clear that a key consideration must be the
             interoperability of the pieces, rather than homogeneity of vendor solutions
             chosen. Interoperability mean that schools must look hard at whether the
             CRM solution works well with other software – but it needn’t exclude an
             independent, best-of-breed solution.

             An example is Columbia College, based in Columbia, MO and offering adult
             education, distance learning, online degrees and education at more than 30
             campuses across the country. Columbia’s search committee, made up of
             professionals from across its campus, conducted a wide-ranging search for the
             best CRM solution. The college’s choice? Not Datatel, the product already in
             use as the college’s student information system, but Hobsons EMT.

             In its nine-month search for a CRM product, Columbia performed an
             extensive and thorough vetting process, contacting nearly 20 vendor
             companies, including Microsoft, Datatel and Sungard, requesting
             demonstrations from some, then eventually making visits to customer sites.

             Columbia’s choice, made after an exhaustive vetting process, carefully
             considered interoperability, among other factors. They settled on a vendor
             specializing in enrollment management but offering a solution that will work
             smoothly with its Datatel student information system.

             According to CIO Kevin Palmer, the enrollment management software from
             Hobsons will work well with the Datatel system already in place – and he’s
             confident of that because of the extensive vetting process the college
             conducted. That process assured him that other schools are successfully
             running Datatel and Hobsons together.

April 2009                      -4-                                                          --4--
             Palmer’s advice to others contemplating a CRM selection process emphasizes
             the importance of following up on vendor references to address all concerns,
             including interoperability. “You can never make enough reference calls,” he
             counsels. Collecting information through site visits was critical to collecting
             best practices. The visits also carried a surprising side benefit: Not only were
             committee members able to see how a CRM product looks and feels in a real
             setting, they were able to converse with other schools running Datatel and
             Hobsons in tandem about workflow and best practices.

             In the end, calls to reference accounts sealed the decision. “Customers who
             were using other products referred to them with terms like ‘adequate’ and
             ‘acceptable.’ Nothing demonstrated superior capability,” Palmer says. “When
             we talked to the Hobsons customers, comments came back like, ‘Excellent’
             and ‘Worked better than we had anticipated.’ The adjectives were head and
             shoulders above the others.”

                                      Products Mentioned

             The following CRM solutions are referenced in this paper; more
             information is available at All products are hosted
             solutions, or “software-as-a-service” (the software is managed offsite
             by the vendor).

             Hobsons EMT A comprehensive software suite for campus-wide
             enrollment management.

             EMT ApplyYourself Software to help move students through the
             admissions process, including online applications, event and interview
             schedulers, and decision management tools.

             EMT Connect Admissions software that manages all prospect data
             in a central location, allowing an integrated recruiting strategy using
             email and direct mail, text messages, personalized web portals, chat,
             and social networking. Can deliver real-time reports of actions taken
             based on key performance metrics. Integrates with any student
             information systems.

             EMT Retain Solution for increasing student retention through
             targeted communications with students, real-time reports, and filters
             to identify at–risk students. Integrates with any student information

April 2009                      -5-                                                             --5--
             Consideration #2: Finding the ROI in CRM

             Budget constraints and cost management are top challenges across any
             business, but perhaps nowhere more so than in higher education. Products that
             promise a reasonably quick return on investment are particularly popular
             today in educational institutions – a fact that helps explain the growing
             popularity of software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. The financial benefits
             behind SaaS appeal to schools that choose software maintained and upgraded
             by the vendor rather than the customer.

             At Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology,
             one key benefit in selecting its new CRM enrollment solution is the fact that
             maintenance and support issues will all be handled by the vendor, not the
             graduate school. The CRM solution’s SaaS aspect was “very significant” in
             the graduate school’s decision, according to John Kim, director of technology
             at the graduate school, in avoiding excessive reliance on the main university’s
             central IT department.

             The graduate school is in the process of implementing a number of Hobsons
             solutions, beginning with its EMT Connect admissions software, after making
             the purchase decision earlier this spring.

             The graduate school, with headquarters in Los Angeles and graduate
             campuses in five locations across southern California as well as online
             programs, is currently using a mixture of internally developed systems,
             including internal SQL databases to store information captured from its Web
             sites. Individual recruiters use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for tracking leads
             and monitoring information.

             The need for a better overall CRM and recruiting system drove the 1,600-
             student graduate school, with just two recruiters on staff, to consider a better
             solution for its recruitment and enrollment efforts. As graduate schools have
             become vastly more competitive in the past several years, Kim explained,
             “we’ve been running into severe limitations in the number of people we can
             reach effectively… We really needed better tools.”

             Despite Pepperdine’s already having a license for a PeopleSoft CRM system,
             Kim said that an evaluation by an external consulting firm concluded that the
             sizeable financial investment needed, and the time it would take to see returns,
             created risks that would outweigh the financial benefits of using the current
             CRM license for two of Pepperdine’s graduate schools. A SaaS solution, on

April 2009                      -6-                                                             --6--
             the other hand, involved greatly reduced cost, and therefore reduced risk and
             more immediate returns.

             Once the graduate school turned to considering external CRM solutions,
             Hobsons quickly climbed to the top of the list. The university considered a
             range of other systems, but concluded that Hobsons has “the largest share of
             the [higher] education market,” Kim said, along with the most experience in
             the sector.

             The real clincher came in demonstrations given before recruiters and
             admissions staff. “We saw demos from all the vendors,” Kim said. “Hobsons
             clearly understood the market. Out of the box, it seemed to deliver the
             baseline functionality we needed. It didn’t have a bunch of extraneous
             [features] that we didn’t need. It cut to the core of our real business needs.”

             He also liked the fact that only Hobsons had a product specific to graduate
             schools. Most CRM vendors, Kim said, don’t differentiate between
             undergraduate and graduate school needs, but “Hobsons knows they need to
             treat graduate CRM programs differently from undergraduate programs.”

             Consideration #3: Weighing Feature Integration

             At George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virginia, the integration of
             various key components within the enrollment CRM solution was a key aspect
             in selecting the right product. The integrated elements will save time through
             increased efficiencies and less IT involvement, according to Assistant Dean of
             Admissions Carolina Figueroa. A recruitment counselor who wants to do an
             enrollment mailing, for example, will be able to put the project together
             himself using the new software, without waiting for technical help.

             “The key issue for us was feature integration [within the product]. With my
             technology background, what I really care about were the technology
             components,” Figueroa says. She cites the fact that email and portal
             integration were already built in, meaning that IT would spend far less time
             getting the project off the ground and maintaining it. “That’s really what we
             were looking for,” she says. “We wanted to gain efficiencies.”

             The school is using Sungard Banner for its central student system, as well as
             in-house Web applications, a tool that students can use to request information,
             and more – all of which will integrate smoothly with the product GMU
             ultimately chose – Hobsons EMT.

April 2009                      -7-                                                            --7--
                                      Why CRM Software?

             At Columbia College, based in Missouri but with over 30 campuses
             across the country and a rapidly growing student base, a clear
             increase in external competition was a driver behind the quest for
             enrollment CRM software. According to CIO Kevin Palmer, Columbia
             saw the need for a better enrollment management plan in order to
             compete more effectively and efficiently. Recruitment officers were
             using a mismatch of spreadsheets, internal databases, and personal
             contact information managers in what he calls “a very rudimentary”
             system. “There was no consistent qualitative effort in terms of what
             [prospective students] would receive, and when,” Palmer says. “It was
             really up to the individual admissions counselors.”

             As Columbia’s size and scope has expanded, the college clearly
             needed better recruitment and retention tools. “We needed to compete
             better for our students,” Palmer says, as Columbia opened more
             campuses, including an online campus launched in 2000. “Our scope
             has increased over the past 10 years. Suddenly, we’re competing with
             a number of institutions we’ve never competed with.”

             Columbia’s goals echo those of many schools searching for a viable
             CRM solution. “We want to be able to treat the applicant as an
             individual,” Palmer says. “We want them to arrive at a landing page [on
             the Columbia web site] that is relevant to them, that will communicate
             to them in a manner that’s appropriate. We also don’t want them to slip
             through the cracks – we want them to be able to keep up with where
             their application is in the process.”

             “We’ll use Hobsons to tailor private communication to [prospective students]
             depending on their status,” Figueroa explains. The CRM solution will also
             insure that GMU is reaching the correct groups of potential students with its
             targeted mailings. “We’ll spend less time making sure we’re addressing the
             right population,” Figueroa says. “There won’t be any more double and triple-

April 2009                      -8-                                                          --8--
             Consideration #4: Suites vs. Best-of-Breed Solutions

             As much as it sometimes seems so, with a focus on returns on investment and
             attracting and retaining “customers” with CRM software, higher education
             isn’t a business. Its needs, focuses, and management methods are different,
             often vastly so. That means that software solutions used in the business world
             are sometimes a poor fit for education institutions – especially if the vendor
             isn’t a specialist in higher education. Similarly, an enterprise-wide suite that
             aims to cover many of the most challenging aspects of running a large,
             complex campus organization may not be the best at any one aspect of a
             particular department’s job.

             Enter “best of breed” software—specific solutions built by companies that
             focus exclusively on a particular sector, such as higher education, and thus
             understand its needs and constraints.

             One concern in selecting a best-of-breed solution can be interoperability—a
             factor that often drives schools to purchase many or all of their software
             solutions from a single vendor. A better solution is to confirm that the best-of-
             breed software under consideration works well with other key software

             Best-of-breed solutions often key in on the toughest challenges that campuses
             are wrestling with, since the individual vendor typically knows the market
             well. The Chicago School is an example. Growing rapidly, with new
             programs including campuses in southern California, it needed a way to reach
             prospective students with custom communications. Under the old system,
             communications weren’t robust and messages to prospective students tended
             to be generic. Having the IT department prepare custom reports, according to
             Director of Information Technology Jed Sullivan, was often long and tedious.

             The school is currently implementing Web-based Hobsons EMT Connect,
             with plans to also roll out a number of additional Hobsons products.

             In an example of the advantages offered by a vendor who focuses on higher
             education, the company’s long-standing expertise came through in the
             product’s intuitive reports. “Hobsons is an outstanding system for reporting –
             it offers options for reporting on any data in the system, with very few
             limitations,” says Director of Admission Operation Meghan Connolly. “The
             reports that come with it are extremely well-geared for marketing at different
             levels. We can rank leads [and] drill down to any level we choose.”

April 2009                       -9-                                                             --9--
                                          The ROI in SaaS

             At Columbia College, using software-as-a-service (SaaS) will alleviate
             stress on CIO Kevin Palmer’s staff, already stretched thin as the
             college expands by rapidly adding locations and students. “As a CIO, I
             oversee technology,” Palmer says. “We really liked the idea of the
             minimal impact on my staff of a software-as-a-service solution. I’m
             saving labor hours by letting them do the heavy lifting.”

             At The Chicago School, one big plus in their new Web-based
             enrollment CRM solution, according to Director of Information
             Technology Jed Sullivan, is the fact that it is a hosted, or SaaS,
             solution. “It’s definitely a benefit, and we’re looking more and more for
             hosted solutions,” Sullivan says. “Let someone else worry about the
             backup and infrastructure.”


             Clearly, successful institutions are moving to incorporate enrollment CRM
             solutions to efficiently attract and retain exactly the students they need and
             want. Colleges and universities that have embraced the right electronic
             solutions for managing their admissions and retention processes are moving
             quickly into the future. The right enrollment and retention management CRM
             tools work with other systems on campus to help institutions reach out to
             prospective and current students in a personal, targeted manner that helps to
             build an early relationship. Simply put, colleges and universities with
             successful recruitment and retention programs need good enrollment CRM
             software to make their programs work efficiently and effectively.

             The payoffs in selecting the right enrollment CRM package for your
             institution include far lower costs in managing the admissions and retention
             process, greater efficiencies for both admissions staff and the IT department,
             and a better competitive edge, since top schools are clearly embracing CRM.

             The best payoff of all, though, and the one cited by each of the four
             institutions portrayed here, is this: The ability to selectively and cost-
             effectively reach the most desirable students, and retain them, on a level they
             understand and respond to.

             As prospective students become more and more digitally savvy, an electronic
             process that effectively touches them individually will become increasingly
             important. The future of successful student recruiting and retention clearly lies
             with CRM software – but it must be the right CRM choice for your institution.

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             About Us

             Campus Technology

             The only monthly publication focusing exclusively on the use of technology
             across all areas of higher education, Campus Technology provides in-depth
             coverage of specific technologies and their implementations, including
             wireless networks and mobile devices; enterprise resource planning;
             eLearning and course management systems; ‘smart classroom’ technologies;
             telecom, Web, and security solutions—all the important issues and trends for
             campus IT decision makers.

             Targeting administrators, IT professionals and tech-savvy faculty, Campus
             Technology provides direction, analysis and detailed coverage of emerging
             technologies to assist technology leaders in their specific roles on campus. To
             learn more, visit

             About Hobsons

             Hobsons provides solutions for education professionals in high schools and
             colleges. Our products help students along the entire education lifecycle. We
             have three divisions that do this:

                  o   Our K12 division, Naviance®, provides Web-based solutions to
                      counselors so they can help students make decisions about course,
                      college, and career planning.

                  o   Our marketing division, IMS, creates printed, online, and multimedia
                      tools for colleges to recruit undergraduate, graduate, and
                      international students.

                  o   Finally, our technology division, EMT, has Web-based tools that
                      help colleges manage student recruitment, enrollment, and retention.
                      This includes tools like CRM, online applications, social networking,
                      online chats, and more that colleges use to keep students engaged.

             Hobsons Global was created in 1974 as an outgrowth of the Careers Research
             and Advice Centre (CRAC), and is part of the Daily Mail and General Trust
             plc (DMGT). DMGT is one of the oldest and most successful media
             organizations internationally, investing in editorial excellence to become one
             of the most successful information providers in the world. With more than 30
             years of experience focused on education, Hobsons empowers education
             professionals with a suite of cross-media solutions, strong partnerships, and
             quality customer service. To learn more, visit

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